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Remaster Notice

Pathfinder Remaster

The Guide to Organized Play will continue to be revised as we work to bring campaign rules in line with the Remaster.

  • Visit this Guide page for information on converting characters and adventures to the Remaster rules.
  • Follow this forum thread for update notifications and to report any issues.

Game Master Basics

Running Pathfinder Society games is similar to running a home campaign with a few house rules established by campaign leadership. In addition to GM Basics, be sure to familiarize yourself with the contents of the Welcome to Pathfinder Society, Community Standards and Expectations, and Player Basics sections. You need to know what players know, what their expectations are, and how their characters are created, played, and advanced.

What Is A GM?

A Game Master (GM) is the person who presents the story, adjudicates the rules, and establishes the parameters of the player’s exploration. A GM’s duty is to provide a fair and fun game for all involved, including themselves. In the Pathfinder Society, a GM has a few other duties, listed in Your Duties as a Game Master below.

Who Can Be A Game Master?

Anyone with a valid Organized Play ID can run Pathfinder Society adventures. As local Pathfinder Society groups and the campaign as a whole benefit as the pool of Game Masters increases, the Venture-Officer network provides support and guidance for any who want to GM.

Your Duties as a Game Master

As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the following duties:

  • Communicate with your local Event Coordinator.
  • Prepare an adventure to offer to players, including gathering the necessary supplies such as maps, miniatures, and reference materials.
  • Provide a welcoming environment for players.
  • Deliver session results to the players via established recording mechanisms.
  • Report the results of the game.

Where Can I Buy Adventures?

Paizo produces two categories of adventures, available for purchase at paizo.comQuestion.

Pathfinder Society adventures, including Scenarios, Quests, and Bounties, generally release during the last week of each month. Current production rates include one or two new scenarios monthly, with additional Society content released periodically throughout the year. These adventures are written expressly for use in the Pathfinder Society campaign.

Pathfinder Adventures, including Adventure Paths, Modules, and Stand-alone adventures, are produced monthly. These adventures are oftentimes sanctioned for use in the Pathfinder Society campaign. Information on how to incorporate them into your Society experience is found on each product’s description page at paizo.comQuestion. (See Additional Adventures for more about these products.)

Before the Adventure

Reviewing Chronicles

If time permits, GMs and Event Coordinators should spend a few minutes reviewing players’ Chronicles at the start of an event slot. These reviews can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, GMs might need to check the Adventure Summary section to learn what a character did in a previous adventure, and GMs and Coordinators can review Chronicles to ensure that they are filled out correctly. These reviews can help ensure that players understand the rules of Pathfinder and the Pathfinder Society Campaign, as well as catch the errors that naturally crop up in the course of play. (See “Dealing with Chronicle Errors” for more on this.)

GMs must use the Chronicles included in the adventure or the adventure's sanctioning documents. GMs cannot create their own custom chronicles. Changes made to increase accessibility for the GM or players, such as enlarging the text to improve readability, are permitted and encouraged and do not invalidate Chronicles.

Challenge Points

In a typical home game, the PCs would all be the same level and face challenges tailored to their level. In an organized play environment, though, there needs to be more flexibility to make it easier for players whose characters are of different levels to participate in the same adventure.

Each Scenario or Quest will list the levels of characters able to play in it, as well one or more level ranges within the adventure. If an adventure has more than 2 level ranges each table must choose 2 adjacent level ranges for that adventure. Only characters of a level that falls within those two level ranges can play in that adventure at that table.

GMs should adjust the Scenario before play begins, following the steps below

1. Calculating Challenge Points

To calculate the number of Challenge Points the party represents, take the following steps.

  • Record the PCs’ levels. The number of Challenge Points that each PC contributes is based only on their character levels. Determine the adventure's “Base Level”. The base level is the lowest level allowed to play at that table.
  • Convert the PCs’ levels to Challenge Points. Table 1 below notes how many Challenge Points each PC of a given level represents.


Table: Challenge Points

Character Level Challenge Points
Base Level 2
Base Level +1 3
Base Level +2 4
Base Level +3 6


For example, an adventure for levels 1-4 would have a Base Level of 1. So a 2nd-level PC in such an adventure has a level of Base Level + 1, and by the chart, contributes 3 Challenge Points. A party of five PCs levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 4 would contribute 2, 3, 4, 6, and 6 points respectively.

  • Total the PCs’ Challenge Points.
  • If playing at a table with fewer than 4 PCs, use the following chart to determine what level of pregens to add, and how many additional Challenge Points.


Table: Adding Pregens

Base LevelPCsCPPregensCP adj.
12<82 lvl 1 pregens+4
28+2 lvl 3 pregens+8
3<121 lvl 1 pregen+2
312+1 lvl 3 pregen+4
32<82 lvl 3 pregens+4
28+2 lvl 5 pregens+8
3<121 lvl 3 pregen+2
312+1 lvl 5 pregen+4
52Any2 lvl 5 pregens+4
3Any1 lvl 5 pregen+2
7+3<12none*+2
312+none*+4


* This table is only legal if all players at the table agree. While we expect this “hard mode” playthrough experience to be satisfying, we want to caution you that, as the adventures are designed for a minimum of four players, they will be more difficult than normal.

2. Determine the Level Range

Parties with challenge points of 15 or less always play in the lower level range. Parties with 19 or more always play in the higher level range.

Parties with 16-18 play in the higher level range only if they have 4 or fewer PCs. If they have 5 or more PCs, they play in the lower level range. This allows small parties of high level adventurers to play in the higher level range, while large parties of low level adventurers play in the lower level range.

Mentorship and PC Level Bumps

To provide low level players a more fun and fair experience, PCs whose level equals the adventure’s base level (such as a 3rd-level PC playing in a Level 3–6 scenario) gain a temporary boost when playing in the higher level range called a "Level Bump," to represent the higher-level PCs’ mentorship and support.

  • Increase every DC the PC has by 1.
  • Increase the attack modifiers, attack damage, spell damage, saving throw modifiers, skill modifiers, Perception modifiers, and AC of the PC by 1.
  • Increase the Hit Point totals of the PC by 10 or by 10%, whichever is higher.

These adjustments are less beneficial than gaining a level, yet they provide the PC more survivability and more opportunity to contribute to the adventure experience, reducing the degree to which higher-level PCs might overshadow these less experienced Pathfinders.

You should also remind higher-level PCs to apply any Mentor Boons they might have purchased.

Apply the relevant adjustments to the PC's animal companions, eidolons, and familiars as well. If a value is already increased by applying the adjustment to a PC (such as a familiar's save modifiers and AC), do not increase the value a second time.

3. Adjusting the Adventure

Once you’ve determined the level range and Challenge Point total, apply the proper modifications to the adventure to provide a fair challenge.

Level Range: Nearly all encounters list two different sets of creature statistics, one for each of the two level ranges the adventure is designed for. The adventure often also refers to important skill checks and saving throws in room descriptions or during events, listing one DC for the lower level range and one for the higher level range. In each of these cases, use the numbers, creatures, and other information listed for the selected level range.

Scaling: Within a level range, the scenario will also contain instructions for adjusting the difficulty of the scenario based on the total Challenge Points. These scaling instructions are generally found in “scaling sidebars” but might also be in the text of the room description or encounter.

Early Scenarios: Some early scenarios were written before the Challenge Point system was fully developed. If you are GMing Scenario 1-00 through 1-11 or Quests 1, 2, or 5 consult the “Converting Early Scenarios Appendix

During the Adventure

Hero Points: At the beginning of an adventure, each PC receives 1 Hero Point. GMs should then hand out additional Hero Points at a rate of approximately 1 Hero Point per hour of play, following the normal GM guidelines. GMC pg. 57, CRB pg. 507GM Core page 57 Question
Core Rulebook page 507 Question
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Secret Checks: Unless a scenario says otherwise, GMs are free to choose how to handle secret checks PC pg. 405, CRB pg. 450Player Core page 405 Question
Core Rulebook page 450 Question
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on a check-by-check basis and should adapt based on the mood and pacing of the table.

If players rolling their own secret checks use information that their characters would not have to determine their actions—then inform them that their characters would not have that information and try to steer them away from using it.

Table Variation

A goal of the Pathfinder Society program is to provide a fun, engaging, consistent experience at all tables. GMs should run Pathfinder Society adventures as-written, which means:

  • No change to major plot points and interactions
  • No addition or subtraction to the number of monsters other than scaling directed by the scenario
  • No changes to armor, feats, items, skills, spells, statistics, traits, or weapons
  • No alteration of mechanics of Player Characters
  • No banning of legal character options

Beyond the above, GMs are encouraged to make choices which would result in the most enjoyable play experience for everyone at the table and that emphasize PCs are the heroes of the story. Some examples of GM discretion include the following.

  • Creatures tactics that have been invalidated by the players' actions.
  • Unclear rules, or situations or player actions not covered by the rules.
  • Terrain or environmental conditions described by the scenario, but not given mechanics. (If the mechanics are included, however, they cannot be altered.)
  • Reactions of NPCs to good roleplaying, and the effect that has on the outcome of the encounter.
  • Alternate or creative skills used to bypass or overcome traps, haunts, and skill checks. (The DCs and results of the check are part of the mechanics and should not be changed.)
  • Aspects of the scenario’s description and story as appropriate for the players at the table as described in "A Welcoming Environment." GMC pg. 6, CRB pg. 485GM Core page 6 Question
    Core Rulebook page 485 Question
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  • Changes required to comply with the Acceptable Content provision of the Community Standards.
  • Creative solutions presented by players in overcoming obstacles.
  • Moving plot points missed by players to encounterable areas (this does not include moving missed Treasure Bundles).

More details on each of these can be found in the Table Variation Appendix.

If a particular issue comes up repeatedly or causes a significant problem in one of your games, please raise any questions or concerns on the Pathfinder Society forums where Venture-Officers, members of Paizo’s Organized Play team, or fellow GMs can help you resolve it.

Ethical Infractions and Infamy

Players are responsible for their characters’ choices and are subject to consequences resulting from those choices and actions. In-game actions earn characters Infamy, while Code of ConductQuestion violations earn players table sanctions.

Below we list some common issues, which are covered more in the Table Variation Appendix:

  • A player’s perception of what their character would do versus the experience of other players at the table.
  • Deity or class anathemas and edicts as they interact with Pathfinder Society missions.
  • Class opposition, such as a paladin and a necromancer on the same mission team.
  • Characters who perform evil or criminal acts.

After the Adventure

After every adventure, the GM issues each player a Chronicle. A Chronicle documents the rewards earned by a PC during a particular adventure. GMs are encouraged to add notes to Chronicles about interesting events that occur during the adventure.

GMs must use the Chronicles included in the adventure or the adventure's sanctioning documents. GMs cannot create their own custom Chronicles. Changes made to increase accessibility for the GM or players, such as enlarging the text to improve readability, are permitted and encouraged and do not invalidate Chronicles.

Filling Out a Chronicle

Sample Chronicles



The sections of a Chronicle are detailed below. Sections marked with an asterisk (*) include some element that GMs must address before players leave the table, either by filling it in themselves or asking the players to fill in the appropriate information. Players can fill out other sections between sessions.

  • (A.) Adventure Name/Number: Pre-printed on the form.
  • (B.) Character Name: Name of the hero who took part in this adventure.
  • (C.) Character Number:* Unique Identifier for the character who took part in the adventure, including a player's Organized Play ID and the Character Number.
  • (D.) Partner Code: A unique code that identifies the Chronicle. May be used by third-parties to reference the Chronicle.
  • (E.) Adventure Summary: This might contain checkboxes to help remind you which choices you made during the adventure.
  • (F.) Pointer to AcP: Where to find Achievement Point totals on paizo.comQuestion.
  • (G.) Treasure Access:* Uncommon or high level items found during the adventure.
  • (H.) Variable quantities:* Quantities that depend on character’s level or successes during the adventure, such as treasure earned, Reputation, etc.
  • (I.) Event Name:* Name given to the event on paizo.comQuestion. This may be used when an event number is incorrect or illegible.
  • (J.) Event Number:* Unique identifier for the event where the game was played; provided by the Event Organizer.
  • (K.) Date:* Date the adventure completed.
  • (L.) GM Number:* The GM's Organized Play ID.

GMs are no longer required to sign or initial any part of a Chronicle, even though earlier adventures include boxes for that.

GMs are encouraged to add notes to Chronicles about interesting events that occur during the adventure.

Advancement Speed

Some players may be making use of the Slow Advancement option. If they are, they should have marked their character as "Slow" on the sign in sheet. In this case divide the Experience Points, Reputation, and Gold from treasure bundles described below in half; do not round. It will also affect Downtime, but the player is responsible for their own Downtime.

Fame

Adventures in Year 1 granted Fame as a spendable and trackable currency. As of Year 2, adventures no longer reward Fame.

Treasure

Treasure Access: Items that the PCs did not encounter must be crossed off the treasure access list by the GM.

Typical Adventure Rewards

The table below summarizes the typical rewards for completing each type of adventure. Check the Sanctioning Document for each adventure for details, including any variations.

Series 1 Quests are designed as roughly one-fourth the play time and rewards of a Pathfinder Society Scenario. Series 2 Quests are designed as roughly half the play time and rewards of a Scenario.

Table: Typical Adventure Rewards

Adventure TypeExperienceReputationDowntime Typical TBsMaximum TBs
Scenario 4 XP 4 Rep 8 days 8 TB 10 TB
Series 2 Quest 2 XP 2 Rep 4 days 4 TB 5 TB
Series 1 Quest 1 XP 1 Rep 2 days *standard flat gold award (2.5 TB)
Bounty 1 XP 1 Rep *varies, see sanctioning document

Treasure Bundles

At the end of a scenario, the GM should tally the number of Treasure Bundles (TB) found. The value of a Treasure Bundle depends on the level of the character earning it. Most scenarios are designed to award 8 Treasure Bundles, with 2 bonus Treasure Bundles available through exceptional play. The chart below gives the value of individual Treasure Bundles and pre-calculates the most common values.

Table: Treasure Bundles



Levels 1-4 Scenario Treasure Bundle Values
Level Each TB 7 TB 8 TB 9 TB 10 TB
11 gp, 4 sp9 gp, 8 sp11 gp, 2 sp12 gp, 6 sp14 gp
22 gp, 2 sp15 gp, 4 sp17 gp, 6 sp19 gp, 8 sp22 gp
33 gp, 8 sp26 gp, 6 sp30 gp, 4 sp34 gp, 2 sp38 gp
46 gp, 4 sp44 gp, 8 sp51 gp, 2 sp57 gp, 6 sp64 gp

Levels 3-6 Scenario Treasure Bundle Values
Level Each TB 7 TB 8 TB 9 TB 10 TB
33 gp, 8 sp26 gp, 6 sp30 gp, 4 sp34 gp, 2 sp38 gp
46 gp, 4 sp44 gp, 8 sp51 gp, 2 sp57 gp, 6 sp64 gp
510 gp70 gp80 gp90 gp100 gp
615 gp105 gp120 gp135 gp150 gp

Levels 5-8 Scenario Treasure Bundle Values
Level Each TB 7 TB 8 TB 9 TB 10 TB
510 gp70 gp80 gp90 gp100 gp
615 gp105 gp120 gp135 gp150 gp
722 gp154 gp176 gp198 gp220 gp
830 gp210 gp240 gp270 gp300 gp

Levels 7-10 Scenario Treasure Bundle Values
Level Each TB 7 TB 8 TB 9 TB 10 TB
722 gp154 gp176 gp198 gp220 gp
830 gp210 gp240 gp270 gp300 gp
944 gp308 gp352 gp396 gp440 gp
1060 gp420 gp480 gp540 gp600 gp

Levels 9-12 Scenario Treasure Bundle Values
Level Each TB 7 TB 8 TB 9 TB 10 TB
944 gp308 gp352 gp396 gp440 gp
1060 gp420 gp480 gp540 gp600 gp
1186 gp602 gp688 gp774 gp860 gp
12124 gp868 gp992 gp1116 gp1240 gp

Levels 11-14 Scenario Treasure Bundle Values
Level Each TB 7 TB 8 TB 9 TB 10 TB
1186 gp602 gp688 gp774 gp860 gp
12124 gp868 gp992 gp1116 gp1240 gp
13188 gp1316 gp1504 gp1692 gp1880 gp
14274 gp1918 gp2192 gp2466 gp2740 gp



Series 1 Quests
Level Standardized Reward
13 gp, 5 sp
25 gp, 5 sp
39 gp, 5 sp
416 gp
525 gp
637 gp, 5 sp

Series 2 Quests
Level Each TB 3 TB 4 TB 5 TB
11 gp, 4 sp4 gp, 2 sp5 gp, 6 sp7 gp
22 gp, 2 sp6 gp, 6 sp8 gp, 8 sp11 gp
33 gp, 8 sp11 gp, 4 sp15 gp, 2 sp19 gp
46 gp, 4 sp19 gp, 2 sp25 gp, 6 sp32 gp
510 gp30 gp40 gp50 gp
615 gp45 gp60 gp75 gp



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